Surfers Against Sewage stages nationwide sea protest against discharges at bathing spots
Campaigners have taken to the water at 12 bathing spots around the UK to demand an end to sewage discharges into the country’s seas and rivers.
Surfers Against Sewage organised Saturday’s nationwide demonstration, which was led by paddle-boarders, kayakers, swimmers and paddlers.
The charity is calling for bathing spots to be protected from discharges and a 90 per cent reduction in sewage discharges by 2030.
It claims that the mismanagement of water companies led to 301,091 sewage discharges in 2022.
i and sister title, New Scientist, have launched a joint Save Britain’s Rivers campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the plight of our rivers and help bring about change.
Earlier this week, the industry trade body Water UK announced a £10 billion plan to reduce the number of sewage discharges into rivers and seas and issued an apology for the levels of pollution.
However, it admitted that household bills would rise to cover the costs of the investment.
Surfers Against Sewage released survey data earlier this month suggesting 85 per cent of people supported a ban on bonuses for CEOs who failed to hit minimum environmental standards, with trust in water companies at 21 per cent among UK adults.
The nationwide protests are taking place at Tinside Beach East, Plymouth Hoe, Gyllyngvase beach, Falmouth, South Bay in Scarborough, Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, Penarth Pier Pavilion, Bedford, Ballyronan Marina in Northern Ireland, Saltburn Pier, North Yorkshire, Essex Bridge, Shugborough, Appley Beach, Isle of Wight, Borrans Park, Ambleside, Windermere, and Warleigh Weir.
Izzy Ross, Surfers Against Sewage campaigns manager, said: “The public at large are sick and tired of greed taking precedence over the health of our ocean.
“These mass paddle-out protests across the country are about holding polluters to account.
“Last year, 12 water companies paid out a combined £1 billion to shareholders whilst relentlessly polluting UK waterways with sewage nearly 400,000 times.
“We will not tolerate their shameless exploitation of our blue spaces any longer.
“Our research shows that trust in water companies is at rock bottom and an overwhelming majority of the UK public call for an end to the excessive bonuses given to water industry fat cats whilst failing to meet even basic environmental standards.
“We refuse to remain silent while water companies ruin our beloved blue spaces.”
The world’s first-ever surfboard made from raw sewage, called The Floater and created by Niall Jones, also featured at the Brighton protest. The board features two transparent windows, where brown sewage water is visible.